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- Join Date
- Dec 2013
Mind Spore [Cosmic Horror Creature, PEACH]
Challenge Rating 4 for individual spore clusters, as per base creature for spore hosts and N/A for the mind spore collective as a whole. Fighting the entire collective would be like fighting terrorism or veganism or the science of astronomy.
A spore host is a creature which has been colonized by mind spores. The infected creature sprouts bright orange and yellow mushrooms from the highest parts of their body (generally the head and shoulders for a humanoid) and begins to hallucinate vividly. The content of these hallucinations are not random misfirings of a drug-addled mind, but rather direct communications from an alien intelligence of unknown origin. This entity eschews titles and has never identified itself by name, but is known in academic circles as the 'mind spore collective'. It is not always possible to identify a spore host by sight, for large mind spore colonies are able to protect the hallucinatory might of the collective over great distances, disguising the true nature of the spore hosts.
A creature becomes a spore host by consuming the fungal polyps which sprout from the corpses of deceased spore hosts. Each polyp consumed allows a DC 10 Constitution saving throw to avoid infection, but the DC increases by one for every fungal polyp consumed in the past week. Failure indicates that the creature is infected and that they will be fully colonized within 1d6 hours. Once colonized, a creature can only be cured by cutting away every trace of the fungus (an hour long process which requires a shaved head, a sharp blade and a steady hand) followed by scrubbing the raw and bloody scalp with strong alcohol. A cure disease spell also suffices. Spore hosts feel pain when their fungus is damaged.
The mind spore collective knows everything that its hosts knows. It can see what they see, hear what they hear, and is able to recall anything that any of its hosts remember. This information is not lost when a host is cured or killed - the collective retains everything that it has ever learned in its ancient existence. The mind spore collective is also capable of inducing hallucinations in its hosts, functioning as the phantasmal force spell but with unlimited duration and a save DC of 14. Hosts retain their free will and can seek treatment, but the fungus will communicate via the hallucinations and promise fabulous rewards (both hallucinatory and material) to hosts who agree to willingly remain infected.
The temptation offered by mind spore infection should not be underestimated. The collective has all the knowledge of countless thousands of artists and lovers throughout history, is able to provide any manner of sensual delight imaginable and possesses a wide and varied collection of secret knowledge, ancient and contemporary alike. Those seeking companionship can be lead to spore communes in the deep wilderness, while those asking for wealth are directed to hidden treasures. The collective even claims to provide for spiritual concerns, calling forth visions of former hosts which claim to have been transported to a paradisaical afterlife maintained for them by the mental powers of the collective, which only seeks to preserve and enjoy the creativity and beauty of sentient thought. Scholars have yet to definitively disprove these claims, but nearly all religious leaders denounce it as a dangerous and heretical lie.
When a spore host dies, it rapidly decays into a spore cluster. All flesh is consumed by the fungus over the course of a week, leaving the bones neatly preserved within. A fully grown spore cluster has 20 hit points, is vulnerable to fire damage and completely inanimate. Spore clusters are constantly surrounded by a thick haze of mind spores, and any creature within 10 feet of a spore cluster has disadvantage on all saving throws against the mind spore collective's mental influence. Spore clusters are the source of fungal polyps: each cluster produces 1d6 per week. A given spore cluster has a limited life span, only surviving for a number of months equal to the Charisma modifier of the creature which spawned it (minimum 0). While any creature can be colonized as spore hosts, only those with particularly passionate and willful minds can grow into new spore clusters. The collective is reluctant to kill hosts simply to create new spore clusters.
Contrary to the popular expectation, the mind spore collective is not motivated solely by self-propagation. It appreciates art and seeks to sponsor projects which match its eclectic tastes. Architects will be hired to create asymmetrical buildings which appeal to a fungal whim; painters will be subtly encouraged to experiment with sepia tones. It has strong opinions about opera and contains a multitude of playwrights. Hosts are encouraged to take up music, or to engage in craftsmanship. The material results can be discarded or sold freely, so long as a spore host is allowed to witness (or ideally assist with) the process of creation and to sample the final product. While maintaining a healthy population of hosts is necessary for the collective to maintain its influence in the material world, it seems at best indifferent to the survival of any particular colony, as long as its pet projects can still be pursued.
In the vicinity of a spore cluster, the mind spore collective can wield potent hallucinations for the benefit of its hosts. On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), the mind spore collective takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects, originating from any spore cluster. If an effect would normally require material components, it does not. If an effect would normally require concentration, the effect ends whenever the originating spore cluster is destroyed. If a target succeeds on a saving throw against any lair action, it is immune to all future lair actions requiring saving throws for 24 hours.
Hallucination. The spores cast phantasmal force with a DC of 14.
Communion. The spores cast detect thoughts with a DC of 14.
Inspire. A spore host within 120 feet takes an extra action. The mind spore collective can't use this lair action again until it has used a different one.
Regions host to a mind spore colony are slowly altered by the collective's presence, creating one or more of the following effects:
-The terrain within 1 mile of a spore cluster is affected as per mirage arcane. Unearthly lights, sprawling fungal gardens and delicious hallucinatory fruits are common features. The collective decides the exact details of the alterations and can gradually change them over the course of a week.
-Spore hosts within 2 miles of a spore cluster benefit from seeming at all times, with their appearances dictated by the mind spore collective. The collective can use this ability to simply disguise the growths on its hosts, but greatly prefers to grace its hosts with alluring or whimsical forms.
-Those within 5 miles who knew the spore cluster in life will frequently dream of visits from the creature, appearing however they saw it last. It will use these visits to pass on any last requests, spend time with loved ones, embrace pets and occasionally even reconcile with their enemies. In the final weeks of the cluster's lifespan, it starts encouraging others to seek out spore hosts or to visit it in its lair directly.
Last edited by Grek; 2019-04-24 at 08:09 PM.